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20111231
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of "nightline: syria, a dictator speaks," begins right now. >> announcer: from the global resources of abc news, with terry moran, cynthia mcfadden and bill weir in new york city, this is "nightline," december 7th, 2011. >> good evening, i'm bill weir. and tonight, we bring you a special edition of "nightline." in a major network exclusive, abc's barbara wealters is just back from another arab country seemingly on the brink of overtloug another dictator. syria. barbara is the first allowed access to the country since a nine-month-old revolution began. she was invited there to conduct an extraordinary interview with the embattled syrian president, bashar al assad, accused of a brutal crackdown that's taken at least 4,000 lives. barbara, welcome home. >> thank you. >> reporter: you sat with saddam hussein, mubarak, gadhafi. how does this man compare? >> very different. he's not a wild, crazy person, at least that's the way gadhafi seemed to us. he is kaup. he is soft spoken. he is articulate. he speaks very good english. there were no ground rules. he answered every question. but there is this di
but it is raising fears tonight of more violence to come. >>> in syria, the streets are bloody tonight, with up to 50 dead in the last day and the country appears to be spiraling towards civil war by the hour. abc's martha raddatz reports. >> reporter: it started in darkness. a terrifying volley of gunfire that began one of the bloodiest 24 hours since this revolution began to force out syria's deke tictator, bashir a assad. this morning, with weapons still crackling and tanks thundering by, people were running for their lives, children looking for cover. some, too late. bodies of dozens of anti-government protesters who had been kidnapped were in the streets. thousands of miles away secretary of state hillary clinton met with syrian opposition groups. >> they need to be assured that syria will be better off under a regime of tolerance rather than on the whims of a dictator. >> reporter: clinton is also sending our ambassador robert ford, back to syria, after pulling him out for his safety. clinton says he will be a witness to assad's brutality as syria slides closer into an all-out civil war.
, taken away in hand cups. >>> then, an abc news exclusive. barbara walters inside syria, with the only one-on-one with syria's 'embattled president. >> why is this such a brutal crackdown? >> does he fear civil war? does he sense the circle closing around him? barbara is right here with us tonight. >>> family values. why mitt romney is hoping voters will focus on this image tonight, as the gloves come off, taking aim at the new front-runner. >>> that famous question, and our question tonight for the ceo of ford who turned that car maker around. what is the key to bringing america back? >>> kicked off. after alec baldwin booted after that battle, who was right? the famous actor or the flight attendant? >>> and pearl harbor. the image we learned today we will never see again. >>> good evening. diane is on assignment tonight. and we begin here with two major stories this evening. barbara walters and her skwloouf one-on-one with syria's embattled president. face to face as she asks why the deadly crackdown. she's right here tonight. >>> but first, another image making headlines. that coach
a majority. >>> meanwhile, in syria, new video of that nation's ongoing rebellion, which has claimed as many as 4,000 lives since march. the u.s. is expanding contacts with the ruling regime. the ambassador of syria is returning to damascus after a six-week absence. and secretary of state clinton met with opposition leaders for a second time. and our reporting on -- >> in jail. pictures in libya of moammar gadhafi. >> our reporting on syria does not end here. look for barbara walters' exclusive interview with syria president bashar al assad later today. >>> officials confirm that drone that crashed inside iran over the weekend was one of a fleet of aircraft that had spied on iran for years. the surveillance was based an air base in afghanistan. experts aren't sure how much secret information the iranians might be able to glean from that drone. >>> the little cuban boy at the center of an international incident more than a decade ago is all grown up. elian gonzalez celebrated his 18th birthday yesterday. he spent part of the day marching in support of five cuban spies that were arrested in th
that drone. >> now to the deadly unrest in syria, which according to the u.n. has killed more than 4,000 people since march. the obama administration is moving to expand contacts with opponents of the ruling regime as violence there grows more deadly. abc's martha raddatz reports. [ gunfire ] >> reporter: it started in darkness. a terrifying volley of gunfire that began one of the bloodiest 24 hours since this revolution began to force out syria's dictator bashir al assad. with weapons and tanks thundering by, people were running for their lives. children looking for cover. some too late. thousands of miles away, secretary of state hillary clinton met with syrian opposition groups. >> they need to be assured that syria will be better off under a regime of tolerance rather than on the whims of, of a dictator. >> reporter: clinton is also sending ambassador robert ford back to syria after pulling him out for his own safety. clinton says he will be a witness to assad's brutality as syria slides closer into an all-out civil war. martha raddatz, abc news. >>> our reporting from syria does
korea was builds a nuclear reactor in syria. until israel showed the white house pictures and bombed it. two years later, they built a sprawling plant undetected. >> he'll need to show something. he needs to show a very skeptical public that he's in charge. and one of the time honored ways that's done in north korea is what we would consider a provocation. >> reporter: tonight senior u.s. officials defend the work of the cia saying, the key point is not marking the exact moment the dictator dies but having a solid framework to assess what may come next. that, of course, is the next test. >> andrea mitchell on the period of uncertainty that arrived this weekend on the news. andrea, thanks. >>> in syria, where most journalists are banned from covering what's going on there. new amateur video has surfaced, claiming to show some of this week's bloody clashes between protesters and government forces. in damascus, more than 150 people are reported dead in the last two days alone. arab league monitors are going into syria later this week, hoping to end this nine-month-old crackdown that's so f
news this morning -- syria's embattled leader has sat down for his first major tv interview since the start of the uprising that left thousand of civilians dead. in an exclusive interview with abc's barbara walters he denied ordering the deadly crackdown. abc's alex marquardt has more. >> reporter: for the leader of a country in so much turmoil, syria's president bashir al-assad appears calm, soft-spoken and confident, confident he is doing the right thing for syria where the u.n. says more than 4,000 people have died in the past nine months. in an exclusive interview with abc's barbara walters he distanced himself from the bloodshed. >> do you think that your forces, cracked down too hard? >> they're not my forces. they are military forces that belong to the government. i don't own them. i'm president. i don't own the country. >> reporter: assad did admit mistakes had been made but doesn't feel guilty because he says he is doing his best to protect his people. few journalists have been allowed into syria, most of what the world has seen looks like this. amateur video, cell phone
leapt crackdown in syria. in the last 24 hours, more than 40 people killed, most in the city of hom, who has been called the capital of the revolution. today, the streets were filled with tens of thousands of protesters, calling for the execution of president bashar al assad. as outside observers from other arab countries are now in the streets, monitoring the situation, activists, armed with video cameras, are trying to send their messages out to the world. and here's abc's kelly cobiella. >> reporter: the videos, taken by ordinary citizens at great risk, show government tanks, blood on the streets, syrians mourning their dead. activists say they're proof the syrian government is killing its own people, in spite of its denials. when cameras caught this, locals begging for help. there are thousands of clips on youtube, and entire channels devoted to the uprising. and all they are using is this. the simple act of holding up a cell phone and taking video in syria is quite risky. >> it's like committing suicide. >> reporter: but they are getting smarter, using fake names and smuggled phones
on the edge tonight. syria. where today, by some accounts, hundreds of thousands took to the streets. the biggest protests in months. making a point to the outside observers from other arab nations, who are now inside syria. more than two dozen people were reportedly killed. >>> back in this country, and to a u.s. marine who is proving tonight that his battle training is not going to waste. carl trenker was shot twice during a robbery right before christmas and he used his own fingers to plug the bullet wounds. he spoke today as he left the hospital. >> one bullet passed into my pec and came out the other side, so, i kind of went like this and, like that. it could have turned out a lot worse, so, there's probably something more that i'm intended to do in my life. >> he survived the battlefield only to come home to that robbery. he now says after surviving, he's looking forward to the holiday meal he missed. >>> and here in new york tonight, a little more than 24 hours until the new year's countdown. pictures coming in tonight. they tested the famous crystal ball today. and it is work
in syria since march, that was all captured in syria's third largest city, the center of the uprising against president bashar al-assad. that just more information and details coming in from the unrest that is happening in syria. more violence yesterday, evidence that the government is cracking down on demonstrators. 40 killed just this week alone. >>> closer to home, it was a deadly evening commute last night outside washington, d.c. a collision between a pickup truck and a public transit bus left the truck's driver dead. and almost a dozen injured. the collision was so forceful that both drivers had to be cut out of their vehicles. >>> in tennessee, three miners had to be rescued after a fire trapped them 800 feet underground. the fire broke out yesterday afternoon on a drill rig near a zinc mine. the trapped miners were in contact with officials, but thick smoke prevented them from leaving a safe area. it took rescuers about three hours to get them out safely. >>> now to the story we teased, a tech savvy georgia family turning to social media to track down a group of grinches who m
by syria's government has continued without let up, despite the arrival of arab league delegates. human rights activists say at least six people were killed in fresh attacks by government forces yesterday. amateur video shows black smoke and flames in one syrian city after alleged shelling by president al assad's forces. arab league arrived thursday ahead of monitors to assess whether the government is complying with a peace initiative. reports coming in from state-controlled syrian tv this morning which says, quote, terrorists, unquote, have attacked security facilities in damascus. >>> a look at other stories making news early today in america. police have tracked down a group of vandals all thanks to youtube. the video posted by the culprit show the crew of young criminals ransacking several stories. investigators brought in one teen for questioning who eventually identified the rest of the suspects. >>> southern california's notorious high-speed santa ana wind swept through yesterday, hammering several neighborhoods. wind gusts as high as 72 miles per hour were strong enough to rip
around the world, arab league sent monitors to syria. this is the city where the government antigovernment protests, repeated crackdowns by regime in recent months. they will visit cities today monitoring admission to the seer regime. >>> boxing day and shopping in canada ended with people taken the the hospital. someone discharged pepper spray in winnipeg. witnesses say the spray was used after an argument between two people, one had a knife. is suspects ran away, and the lis are searching for -- police are searching for them. no one was hurt. >>> one of the poorest neighborhoods got a new addition, a gigantic escalator. authorities say it's the same as going up a 28 story building. it shortens the 35 minute hike to 6. the project cost a little under $7 million to wrap up. >>> two tiger cubs at park in china will be kept warm at a warm house during the winter. look at these guys. they are the youngest, barely two months old. the cubs could suffer if they stayed with parents out in the open air throughout the winter. the warm house which has its own air conditioner and humi
. >>> elsewhere, a bloody crackdown continues in syria with reports of more than 100 deaths over the past two days, including dozens of defectors from president bashar al assad forces. amateur video shows what is to be the result of bloody clashs between protesters and government forces in and around damascus. this week's surge in violence is believed to be a so-called last push by assad's regime before arab league monitors arrive in that country. >>> in what's called the biggest women in cairo, demanding the government military step down. marchers carried a photo of a woman whose clothes were partially pulled off by troops as a symbol of their outrage over the brutal trooement of female protesters. some 10,000 chanting women carried signs, turned out for the massive march throughout downtown cairo. this as 14 people were reportedly killed during a fifth day of clashes between protesters and military forces. >>> back here at home, it may not officially be winter yet but a blistering snowstorm that plowed through the southwest and southern plains was a bitter reminder of what's in store over the ne
with trips to turkey and the obama administration looks to the nato ally to keep pressure on syria and iran both of whichcurrently embroiled in civil and international turmoil. >>> research firm shopper track says super sales rose 1.9% from a year earlier while customer accounts dropped almost 2%. additionally black friday salesrose 6.6% to 11.4 billion from a year earlier while consumer counts climbed 5.1%. >>> honda is expanding a recall of the air bag to 300,000 cars and suvs. honda says they may inflate with too much pressure senning metal and plastic pieces flying many so far two people have been contermed killed by this. the recall is expanded to include a a cord, civics, odyssey crvs and pilots and other cars affected. >>> the seahawks routed the eagles in seattle. lynch rushed for 148 yards and two scores and seahawks defense intercepted vince young four times once resulting in a 77 yard return for a touchdown. >>> a controversy taking place in one school district a 13-yea denied admission for a philadelphia middle school. >>> also, a 75-year-old came home to find locks on his gate
, with his country in chaos, accusations he killed thousands of his own people the president of syria talks to barbara walters. >>> also the heart of the revolution, cries for freedom are being choked in fear . . >>> check this out. a family in oklahoma opens the front door to find a big gift on the porch. what they don't know is it's their mom inside. sergeant jamie gaines serve was the national guard. she has been in afghanistan for six months. with the help of a local church she pulled off the perfect christmas surprise. >> okay. everybody at the same time we have to open it. >> we wish you a merry christmas. we wish you a merry christmas. > o baby! om my god. >> mommy! . >> the gaines will celebrate early because mom heads back to afghanistan on december the 21st but she is expected to be home for good coming up in march. don't stop hugging. >>> hockey fans here let the fur fly, it's the 7th teddy bear toss. the team wait for the first goal and then throw thousands of stuffed bears on to the ice. they say they collected more than 25,000 stuffed animals and all of them will be given
house said it was deeply disturbed and the opposite syria national council is calling for a u.n. security council meeting. >>> eight u.s. soldiers are facing charges after an army private's body was found in a guard tower in afghanistan back in october. the army ruled the death of danny chen, an asian-american from new york city a suicide. an investigation further found that chen had been the target of ethnic slurs and physical attacks at the hands of his fellow soldiers. eight of them have been charged with involuntary manslaughter and negligent homicide for allegedly driving chen to take his own life. >>> a look at other stories making news "early today" in america. a high-speed chase through the streets of orlando ended in a hair-raising crash. whoa. police pursued burglary suspects for 40 minutes until they smashed into three vehicles at a busy intersection. miraculously, no one died. six people, including the two suspects, did suffer serious injuries. >>> a raging inferno in detroit forced two people to jump for their lives. a man and a woman lept from the burning home's
,000 for information leading to an arrest. >>> in syria, hundreds of thousands flooded the streets on friday in the largest anti-government protest there in months. activists are trying to show the strength of their movement to arab league observers who are right there now in syria. 22 protesters were killed on friday. >>> and enfamil, infant formula has been declared safe, by two federal agencies. the fda and the centers for disease control say there's no evidence that four cases of a rare bacterial infection was related. four of the babies consumed enfamil. >>> more than 100,000 cyclists, not to be equivalent of a red shirt, filled the streets of taiwan to break the world's record for the largest bicycle parade. the record was set in italy more than a decade ago. >> i don't know, ron. >> that's all i got. >> it was close. >> i know. >> that's impressive. >> i tried. >> yes. >>> time, now, for the weather and ginger who is out in times square, where they're getting ready for the big night. ginger, go. >> it's a big night. and it's a big morning already. so many folks feeling the excitement
-on-one with the leader of syria. clinging to power in a year year of revolution. >> do you think that your forces are cracking down too hard? >> his first interview with any western journalist since the crackdown. >>> game over for alec baldwin, after he won't stop playing with his cell phone. what led to the rage on the runway? >>> double date. will and kate step out with charles and camilla. but all eyes were on the duchess. is she carrying her purse like that to hide a baby bump? >>> yeah, yeah, yeah. >> give it to them. >> where was she supposed to hold her clutch? that's where one holds their clutch, george. >> are you making fun of me? >> no. he was. >> we have a lot to get to this morning. >>> battle lines being drawn in this presidential race. everyone took it up a notch yesterday. the president channeled the republican teddy roosevelt, to take on the republicans. he used tough language. he called this a make-or-break moment for the middle class. you see newt gingrich. he's taking new incoming fire, as well. and we'll tell you how mitt romney is take him on. that big debate coming up on s
south korea this morning. we want to stay overseas and turn to the unrest in syria. tens of thousand of people in the streets of syria's third largest city calling for execution of the president. government troops reportedly killed dozens of people despite presence of international monitors checking on ape series of promised reforms there thousand hatch died in the government crackdown against protestors which began in march. >>>turbing details in the murder of a young girl. the man watching aliahna lemmon confessed. the suspect, a 39-year-old michael plumadore has been ordered held without bond. >>> investigators in connecticut confirm the fire that killed five family members was in fact the result of a tragic accident. embers from the fireplace and lack of working smoke detectors led to the tragedy. abc's linsey davis reports now from stamford. >> reporter: investigators say it was the ember of the christmas eve yule log which started what fire fighters are calling the most horrific fire in recent memory and it's left an entire town in mourning for three little girls and their gran
. >>> witnesss in syria say a neighborhood may be beyond government control after fighting left a number of people dead. they have engaged in a shootout with snipers in the sirian military smuggling fighters in and out of the neighborhood they control getting past government checkpoints. >>> and it look like there's a new island in the red sea after an underwater eruption left lava cooling when it broke through the water's surface. nasa capture the image last week which shows a new mass with a plume. that is forming along the island between yemen and itera. part of the red sea has seen volcanic activity with as many as 10 eruptions in the past five years. >>> now "good morning maryland." >>> two doctors are charged with murder for performing a botched abortion. the secret facility where they were taking place. >>> and i am corinne redman. crime in baltimore going down. that's what the numbers say. hear firsthand from the police commissioner on what's working. >>> and so do you have your beer goggles on? we will a little later. how to prepare to stay safe without ending up in the slammer.
to release a timetable for re-opening the monument to the public. overseas tonight in syria, dozens of people killed in twin car bombings outside the headquarters of the intelligence agency in damascus. the attacks are the first of their kind in the syrian capitol since the start of the uprising this year. >>> now to cairo where thousands of egyptians have been rallying in tahrir square today denouncing military violence against protesters, many of whom were women. at least 17 people have been killed in violent clashes h this week. nbc's amin mohadin has the latest. >> reporter: today it was on display miles away from each other. today the number reaching close to 25,000. the activists behind me supporting calls for the military to step down from power and to hand over power to an elected government as quickly as possible. they feel the military has exhausted its mandate and is unable or unfit to control more. across the street a short while -- distance from here the egyptian military and their supporters took to the street. there are those who believe the egyptian military retains a great de
. what happens in syria finally. how the saudis react to all of this. they've not been happy with the united states for the past year, because of the way that we dispatched mubarak, and they said, you know, that's how you treat your friends, are you having a change at the top there? that has to be an important part of the debate in the next year. but my guess is that we won't hear very much about it, because people don't find a lot of political capital talking about that. >> just to pick up on one point there, there's a question that's hung over the iraq enterprise from day one and it's been this -- is iraq the way iraq is because saddam was the way saddam was? or was saddam the way saddam was because iraq was the way iraq was? is it a fractured, multisectarian country that could only be held together by an iron fist, first by saddam or residually by us? or is it not? we're going to get the answer to that question now. saddam's fist is gone, ours is gone, and the big question not just about iraq but all the arab springs is can they come together and write social contracts to
not credible. and the united nations is dismissing assad who called a report of widespread torture in syria, a false allegation. >>> people are digging out after getting blasted by a snowstorm. eight inches of snow fell in parts of pennsylvania, with higher elevations bearing the brunt of it. much of it will melt today, as temperatures warm up. >>> and time, now, for weather from across the country. a blustery day in the northeast, with lingering snow in northern new england. up to half foot of lake-effect snow in michigan's upper peninsula. and snowshowers between nebraska and kansas. meanwhile, cooling down along the gulf coast. and some scattered showers down in florida. >> 74 in miami. 52 in atlanta. 45 here in new york. a biting 13 degrees in fargo. 21 in minneapolis. and 31 in omaha. 40s in the pacific northwest. phoenix gets up to 61. sacramento, 58. and salt lake city, 36. >>> and we are tracking a few developing stories on this thursday morning, including the crash of a tourist helicopter near las vegas. we'll have the details on that. >>> plus, the alarming video of student to the
to take his own life. with more citizen video coming out of syria these days during a very bloody week the obama administration is using very strong language about what is happening there accusing president asad's government of mowing down its own citizens. more than 200 are now dead there it's believed since monday. >>> we'll take a break. up next as we continue on a wednesday night, with americans in uniform in afghanistan and some are now openly gay. many said that would never work, but were they right? >>> later, the outpouring of support and help since our story aired about a woman whose idea is making a difference for people and their pets who are all trying to survive these hard times. i take an omega for my heart. but to be honest, i find the omega choices overwhelming. which one is right for me? then i found new pronutrients omega-3. it's from centrum, a name i trust. it goes beyond my heart to support my brain and eyes too. and these ultra-concentrated minigels are much smaller than many others. it's part of a whole new line of supplements. there's probiotic and fruit & veggi
much violence going on in syria, that you really always have to be on the lookout. this video appears to be just another day, everybody going about their business. you see a shop keeper, people riding their bikes, a motorcycle. but then a twist, you see the street sweeper exit the screen. and into the shot comes a man who is holding a rocket-propelled grenade. he takes a shot straight at an armored vehicle. >> what? >> wow. >> it appears that the street sweeper looks back and gestures at someone standing off to the side. you can't really tell what's going on. and in comes what seems to be a different man holding this rpg and takes the shot. >> what's so chilling about this is you see all of these other people, the men on their mopeds, on their bicycles just going about their day. and this guy looks like he's doing the same thing and suddenly it seems like he's on the lookout for a guy with a grenade launcher. >> he's saying allah akbar. god is great, god is great. >> when i first saw the video, i thought the street sweeper is the same guy who comes back with the rpg weapon. but it doe
every year since the clinton administration. any one who did a day trip to syria, 90 minute primetime special, and interview with the president and first lady hardly sound like any one retiring from anything we asked if she fibbed to the president to get a big interview. vp said she is one of the greatest bookers who ever lived. >> she is not going anywhere. >> can't imagine. >> on "the view" her specials. >> she will leave when she wants to. >> she is not going anywhere. jay-z joining his wife beyonce in a pregnancy diet. the diet is partially vegan. she is trying not to let herself go she is expecting. he is joining her in that. i'm not sure what a partially vegan diet is. >> what does that mean? >> when you are pregnant you want to eat. everything. delicious things like bacon. >> i respect, if you say you are giving up, give up certain things when you are pregnant. i'll go along with you -- alcohol. >> a lot of men get fatter when women are pregnant. >> nicely done, jay-z. feel the pain a little bit. donald trump. rosie o'donnell going at it again. a twitter war. no love lost here.
u.n. official is calling the ongoing violence in syria a civil war. the stark assessment came as amateur video showing the violence in the country surfaced. now the u.n. puts the death toll from eight months of revolt against the government at 4,000. it says the number is simply a conservative estimate. >>> now to politics and gop presidential hopeful herman cain. he says his wife knew nothing abut his friendship with ginger white or that he provided her with financial support until just this week. cain denies white's allegations the two carried on a 13-year affair but does admit helping with white's bills saying he is just soft hearted. cain says he will decide whether to stay in the race by monday after a face to face with his wife. >> a fly on the wall during that, huh? country singer, mindy mccready has violate aid judge's custody order and missed a deadline to bring her 5-year-old son back to florida. mccready says she is tennessee and insists she is trying to protect her son and can't travel because she is 7 months pregnant with twins. her mother was awarded custody of h
. such religious-motivated attacks have not been seen much there. >>> and pressure mounting on syria, where bloody crackdown of anti-government protesters is blamed for at least 4,000 deaths. secretary of state hillary clinton is meeting today with syrian exiles supporting the uprising against president bashar assad. barbara walters has an exclusive interview with president assad. >>> there's word this morning of a settlement following last year's coal mine explosion that killed 29 men in west virginia. it was the worst coal mine disaster in 40 years. and now, the owner, alpha natural resources will pay some $200 million to settle civil and criminal charges, from the explosion at the upper big branch mine. former executives could face criminal charges. >>> and president obama travels to kansas today to pressure republicans to extend the payroll tax cut that expires at year's end. without it, the typical american family will lose about $1,000 next year. to get republicans to sign on, senate democrats have lowered a proposed tax on millionaires. but some republicans call that an empty gesture. >>> a
the policeman of the world. we don't need another war in syria, another war in iran. just get rid of the embassy in baghdad. we're pretending we're coming home from baghdad. we built an embassy there that cost $1 billion and we're putting 17,000 contractors in there and pretending our troops are coming home. i could save the money and we don't have to raise taxes on social security, on the tax roll. >> as i said, i want to broaden this out. all of you have been debating two big questions through this nomination fight. who is the most consistent conservative candidate? and which of you is bet able to defeat president obama? governor romney, speaker gingrich crystallized his argument. he said, quote, i'm a lot more conservative than mitt romney and more electable than anyone else. i know you don't agree with that. >> beiof course i don't agree w that. i don't think most people agree with that. speaker gingrich has been in government for a long time. we can look at his record. really this is more about us talking about what we believe. and whether we can lead the country at a time when we need to r
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